Imágenes de páginas

make what we mean a little clearer by an example or two of these Pindaric figures. At the conclusion of a most beautiful ode-third Nemean—the poet says to Aristoclides,

φίλος. Εγώ τόδε τοι
πέμπω μεμιγμένον μέλι λευκό
συν γάλακτι, (κιρναμένα δ' έερσαμφ-
έσπει,) πόμαοίδιμον Αίο-
λησιν εν πνοαϊσιν αυλών,

όψε περ.

• Farewell, O friend, to thee I send
This chalice, honey with the white milk blended,
(The dewy bead-drop dancing round the brim)
A cup of praise and tuneful lays,

With breath of pipe Æolian tended.'-Cary. • I send this honey and milk (=the ode) with a dewy crown-a draught of song-to be accompanied by the breath of Eolian pipes.' In the eighth Nemean to Dinis, Pindar says

ικέτας Αιακού σεμνών γουνά-
σων πόλιός ' υπερί φιλας
αστών υπέρ των δ' άπτομαι, φέρων
Λυδίαν μίτραν καναχηδα πεποι

· A suppliant to Æacus I come ;
And touch his holy knees
Both for the city, and for these
Who call it their beloved home;
Bearing the Lydian mitre bound

With many a fold of mazy sound.'--Cary. 'I bear a Lydian wreath (=an ode set for the Lydian mood) sonorously variegated or adorned."

And beyond a hundred others of like construction, let the following remarkable passage be cited :

ακούσατ'· ή γάρ, ελικόπιδος 'Αφροδίτας
άρoυραν ή Χαρίτων
ανατολίζομεν, ομφαλον εριβρόμου
χθονός αένναον προσευχόμενοι.
παθιάνικος ένθ' όλείοισιν 'Εμμενίδαις
ποταμία τ’’Ακράγαντι και μάν Ξενοκράτει
έτοιμος ύμνων
θησαυρός, εν πολυχρύσω
Απολλωνία τετείχισται νάπα:
τον ούτε χειμέριος όμβρος έπακτος ελθών,
εριβρόμου νεφέλας

τρατός αμείλιχος, ούτ' άνεμοι ές μυχούς
αλός άξοισι παμφόρα χεράδι


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τυπτόμενοι. φάει δε πρόσωπον εν καθαρά
πατρί τεω, Θρασύβουλε, κοινάν τε γενεά
λόγοισι θνατων
εύδοξον άρματι νίκαν

Κρισαίαισιν εν πτυχαίς απαγγελεί.-VΙ. Ρyth. ν. 1.
• List ; for our furrow turns a field,
To bright-eyed Venus or the Graces dear,
As we, the temple near,
Approach the navel of loud-roaring earth,
Where due to Pythian victor's worth,
For the Emmenidæ and Agragas
(By whose fair towers the river flood doth pass)
And for Xenocrates the blest,
A treasure of sweet hymns doth rest,
Wall'd in the golden Apollonian glen:
Which neither wintry tempest driving loud,
Inclement army of the echoing cloud,
Nor wind shall sweep, with surf all-swilling, hurl'd
Into recesses of the watery world ;
But standing forth, in light, it shall to men
Declare, with serene face,
The conquest, Thrasybulus, of thy car,
A common glory to thy sire and race,

In Crissa's winding vales.' ---Cary.* • We plough the field of Venus or the Graces-(=we prepare an ode) -as we approach the navel of the earth (Delphi, it being a Pythian victory), where a treasure of song in honour of the Pythian victors is erected and preserved—which treasure (=the ideal treasure of fame and song, as opposed to the gold and silver offerings in the Delphic treasury) neither wind nor rain shall affect; but on the contrary, it (the song) shining clearly ( as if it were gold), shall declare your glories, &c.'

We end these instances with a short passage, remarkable for the supervention of the direct simile upon the metaphor :

χρυσέας υποστάσαντες ευ-
τειχιΐ προθύρων θαλάμου
κίονας, ώς ότε θαητόν μέγαρον,

Tážousv.-VI. Olymp. v. 1. Placing golden columns under the well-built porch of our chamber (=commencing with a splendid exordium to the ode)—we will erect it (=the chamber or ode), as if we were building a beautiful palace.'

We fear Dr. Johnson would have called these and the like * We cannot compliment Mr. Cary upon the whole of this version. What is the meaning of a 'furrow turning a field ? The seventh line is exceedingly tame and prolix for the single epithet ποταμία, and surely παμφόρα χεράδι does not mean . with surf all-swilling,' but sand, stones, and mul, driven or collected together, in a passive sense? We recommend, by the way, to Mr. Cary, in case of a second edition being called for, the use of Boeckh's text, instead of Heyne's, from which it is evident his translation has been made.


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false metaphors; and certainly, if it be universally true that no circumstances can justify a departure from what may be termed the literal unity of a metaphor, then Pindar must be allowed to be remarkably open to the censure of criticism upon this account. But we venture to think that this matter has been settled a little too hastily, and upon too narrow principles of logic. It is exceedingly difficult to trace with precision the process by which a word, primarily denoting a visual image, or a determinate act of the senses, becomes invested with moral associations; but we all know, or may know upon a little reflection, that a very large portion of the language spoken at any given period by every civilized people, is made up of words and phrases metaphorically applied. The usage of such words as light and darkness—or to see, hear, feel, taste, and the like, will demonstrate the extent in which the language of common life is composed of terms employed in a secondary or translated meaning. No man ordinarily speaks three sentences together without two metaphors in them, and the diction of the peasant is as figurative as that of the gentleman. But it is obvious that, by familar use, all sense of the figurative application is lost, and the words are spoken as in their

primary signification alone. Hence we conceive the true rule to be, that no use of words ought to be considered really metaphorical, where a simply moral sense has been conventionally stamped upon the phrase, so as to merge to the mind's eye the visual 'image originally expressed by it.

For example, great fault has been found by some critics with Hamlet, for deliberating whether

" to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them.' Spear and shield, it is said, are inapplicable to such an adversary. Very true; but' to take arms' against a thing is a wornout metaphor, and, therefore, no effective metaphor at all. It suggests no incongruous image. Even the sea of troubles' — Tayos xaxw—when taken by itself, scarcely raises any distinct image; but if you add any appropriate action, as 'to float on,'

to be drowned in,' a sea of troubles, then the figure emerges and the phrase becomes apparently metaphorical. Prospero says

"The charm dissolves apace;
And as the morning steals upon the night,
Melting the darkness, so their rising senses
Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle

Their clearer reason. Some of the words used in this passage, if reduced to their original physical meanings, would be inconsistent with each



other; but does any one, however fastidious, feel any inconsistency in them? Is it not clear that conventional use has impressed upon them a secondary sense, which suggests no image sufficiently distinct to produce any confusion in the mind ? Horace says to a youth, unfortunate in the object of his love

• Ha! miser, Quanta laborabas Charybdi,

Digne puer meliore flamma!' But is not flamma, in this passage, a mere word for amor? and does it in truth suggest any such thought of fire, as to be incongruous with Charybdis ? We own we cannot perceive it, and we believe that if attention were paid to this simple remark, and a reasonable allowance made for conventional use, Pindar might, upon this score alone, be relieved from the weight of a great deal of very impertinent criticism,

But it is still more important for the defence of many of the figures in the lyric and dramatic poetry of the Greeks and most other nations, to observe that the logic of terms may sometimes be superseded by the paramount logic of passion. What we mean is that, in a very highly wrought state of the imagination, there is a predominant tendency to figurative expression, and that the mind, eager to utter its thoughts in the most vivid manner possible, does not content itself with the details and accompaniments of one single image, but, having struck out the principal figure, deserts it, and glances forth in succession other and distinct images of the subordinate parts and links of the fundamental proposition. For it frequently happens that such fundamental proposition has various aspects, which can more vividly be presented to the imagination by distinct physical forms; and we think that such forms may allowably be left to stand as integers in the picture, trusting for their harmonious grouping to the motion and spirit of the general thought which supports and embraces them—just as in a modern toy the separate and fixed figures of men and beasts are endowed with connexion and life by the whirl of the card upon which they are painted. Are we prepared to condemn such a passage as this :

• She speaks :-
O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o'er my head,
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white upturned wondering eyes
Of mortals, that fall back to gaze on him,
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds,
And sails upon the bosom of the air !'-

Romeo and Juliet, Act ii. Scene ii.


or the following:

• This is mere madness;
And thus awhile the fit will work on him :
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,

His silence will sit drooping.'-Hamlet, Act v. Scene i. or Milton's lines on the sounds of the lady's voice, in Comus :

How sweetly did they float upon the wings
Of silence through the empty vaulted night,
At every fall smoothing the raven down

Of darkness, till it smiled.' May not these figures be taken in succession upon the mind's eye, and yet so far linked together, or placed in such harmonious opposition, that a single and unconfused impression may be the result ? We make these remarks with humility-not assuredly as having any mercy for the slip-slop or rigmarole of some of the modern versifiers, nor disputing Quinctilian's general rule that quo genere cæperis translationis, hoc finiasbut suggesting the allowability of greater freedom in the figuring of thoughts during an exalted state of the imagination, and especially adverting to the necessity, peculiar to high lyric or dramatic passion, of expressing the whole thought by images the most illustrative of every part of it. We may be wrong, but we can never consent to place such metaphorical anomalies as may be found in some of the very greatest poets that ever lived, in the same class of false style with the silly trash which is now so common as to need no particular citation. There is this difference at least between the errors of Pindar, Shakspeare, or Milton, in this point, and those of the writers to whom we allude, that the poets do produce images, whether consistent with each otiier or not, whereas the poetasters create no distinct image at all, but, after infinite distortion, bring forth words only, and words signifying nothing.

But most persons will allow that the main difficulty of Pindar does not lie in his figurative language, be that corrupt or not. That he is difficult, we fully admit, and believe that the difficulty consists almost exclusively in our not thoroughly understanding the plan and method of his odes, and confounding them with the lyric compositions of Horace, and other poets of the English, Italian, and German literatures. There are lyric poems in the English language, which, in beauty and harmony, are inferior to none in Pindar; but they are not like Pindar's odes; the plan is different, the tone is different, the style is different. Pindar could not have written the Prothalamion or Epithalamion of Spenser, nor Wordsworth's Platonic Ode; but neither could Spenser or Wordsworth have risen to the splendid—the almost light

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